White bugs on hibiscus

Aphid Control: How To Get Rid of Aphids

Aphids are a fairly common parasitic insect that likes to feed on all types of garden plants but they can be particularly harmful to Hibiscus plants. These pear-shaped insects enjoy the rich and highly nutritious juices present inside the leaves of the plant. Apart from that, they also simply love to feast on the succulent new growth that the plant puts out as it grows older.

Aphids are fond of feeding in large clusters, and they tend to do so in numbers that are quite capable of causing large scale and extensive damage to many different types of plants. Such damage includes leaf curling and even distortion of the plant altogether. And if that is not bad enough then they can also carry plant viruses that cause highly infectious illnesses amongst your precious flora.

If you have noticed Aphids on your Hibiscus plants, you will need to act fast to eliminate the infestation. Follow our DIY treatment guide below to learn more about this sap-sucking pest and how to best clear them from your garden using our effective professional-grade products.


Aphids are extremely small, so much so that they are barely visible to the naked eye. They measure out to about 6/100th of an inch long and their coloring ranges across a spectrum going from yellowish-green all the way to green-black, which enables them to merge into the background of plants the feast upon. Their coloring is also an ideal camouflage against many larger predators who would prey on these tiny insects.

Aphids have pear-shaped bodies and like to cluster together near plant leaves. When closely observed you will notice that they have three pairs of legs and two piercing and sucking mouthparts. Use the description and image above to help you to properly identify Aphids on your Hibiscus plant.


Once you have confirmed the pests you are encounter to be Aphids, you can move forward with an inspection to determine how big of an infestation you have and how severe your Hisbiscus plants are overrun with them.

Where To Inspect

Aphids tend to congregate in clusters on the plant they are feeding on. Since most infestations happen on vegetation inspect your Hibiscus plants and ornamentals. Look in new shoots, on Hibiscus buds, along stems, and the underside of leaves.

What To Look For

You’re looking for Aphids. They usually clump together in the parts of the plants mentioned above. Also, look for mold and/or fungus growing on your plants. Mold and fungus tend to grow around the honeydew secretion of Aphids. If you find any Aphids on your plants, it is time to apply treatment.


Once you have confirmed Aphid activity it is time to begin treatment. Remember to first read all product labels and follow the application instructions on these labels, and stay safe by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

Our top recommendation for treating Aphids is Dominion 2L, this is a product that contains the active ingredient Imidacloprid and can safely be applied on your Hibiscus plants to treat the infestation. The product also works systemically, working its way through the foliage and root systems of plants to stop Aphids from further damaging the plant.

Step 1 – Measure and Mix Dominion 2L

Determine how much Dominion 2L you will need by calculating the square footage of the treatment area. To do this, measure and multiply the treatment area length times the width (length x width = square footage). Dominion should be mixed at a rate of 0.015 fl. oz. in a gallon of water to treat 1,000 sq. ft. So for example, if you had measured a 2,000 sq. ft. area for treatment, you would need to mix 0.030 fl. oz. of Dominion 2L in at least 2 gallons of water.

Fill your sprayer with half the required amount of water and then add in the appropriate measured amount of Dominion 2L based on your calculations. Fill the sprayer with the remaining half of water and then agitate the sprayer until the solution is well mixed. You are now ready to spray.

Step 2 – Apply Dominion 2L to Hibiscus Plants

Apply the Dominion 2L to the foliage, spraying to wet but not to the point of runoff. Use a fan nozzle spray for even coverage. Don’t forget to treat the underside of leaves as these are where Aphids commonly hide. Dominion 2L remains effective for up to 90 days after application, but you can reapply as needed.


After treating the Aphid infestation, you will want to make sure they don’t return. Dominion 2L can also be used as a preventative treatment as it remains effective for up to 90 days. Spray your Hibiscus plants quarterly for year-long control from Aphid damage.

Key Takeaways

  • Aphids are a sap-sucking, plant-damaging pest that commonly infest Hibiscus plants and eat sap from the leaves.
  • Our recommended product for treating Aphids on Hibiscus plants is Dominion 2L
  • After successful control, a preventative application of Dominion 2L will protect your Hibiscus plants from possible Aphid refinfestations.

How to Protect Your Hibiscus from Aphids? Try These 5 Ace Ways

Aphids can damage the beautiful flowers of hibiscus as well as the plant. Getting rid of them should be your first priority when you notice them. Gardenerdy gives tips to get rid of aphids and bugs on hibiscus.

Hibiscus is the best known tropical flowering shrub in the world. It comes in various colors―single as well as double-petaled, native and hybrid strains, such that one is spoiled for choice. The genus includes annual and perennial herbaceous plants, as well as woody shrubs and small trees. They are very popular among gardeners and herbalist tea makers. Their growth requires minimal care and maintenance. Some training to prune them and pest control among other things is all they need. Among all the pests that infect this plant, aphids should be dealt with immediately. Aphids or plant lice are nasty, small, soft-bodied, plant-eating insects. They are extremely destructive in nature and are found on cultivated plants in temperate climates. There are about 4,400 species of aphids, and they may be green, yellow, white, brown, red or black, depending on the species and the plants they feed on.

Plants affected by any kind of aphids needs to be removed. You will find them close to the top of the stems and on and around the hibiscus flower buds. They secrete a sticky fluid known as honeydew on parts of the plant they infect, promoting the growth of black sooty mold fungus. Aphids feed on hibiscus using their needle-like mouth parts, by rupturing vessels that carry water, carbohydrates, and proteins, which plants use. This black color should help one easily identify the presence of aphids. Unchecked, these pests can spread quickly, infecting more parts of the plant. The black soot does not let sunlight penetrate through the infected part. Without adequate sunlight, hibiscus plants cannot use its pigment―chlorophyll for the process of photosynthesis, thereby, depriving it of food and other vital nutrients required for growth. This eventually weakens the plant and kills it, or damages the quality of flowers produced.

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How to Get Rid of Aphids on Hibiscus?

There are different ways in which one can use for killing aphids. They seem to infect the plant more in winters, so ensure proper sunlight and air circulation for the plants. They curl and yellow the leaves, flower and stems colonize, so the first thing that needs to be done is to prune away all affected plant parts, leaves along with the offending insects. If the infestation is severe, try spraying. While purchasing hibiscus from nurseries, check thoroughly for any infected part.

● Insecticides meant specifically for aphids should be sprayed straight onto the infected part. Hose it down completely.
● A strong flush of water will dislodge some and kill some.
● You can also make a soapy water solution at home by putting 2 tablespoons of any hand wash or detergent in 1 gallon of water, and spray it on them. The chemicals present in most detergents will destroy them. As this solution is not harsh to the plants, continue spraying until all aphids have been eliminated. Rinse off with plain water after an hour or two.
● Hibiscus does not tolerate too many insecticides and fertilizers. So don’t spray insecticides in excess; it will damage the plant, whereas over-fertilizing the plant will make it more susceptible to aphids.
● A chemical known as imidacloprid is also used for getting rid of aphids. It is used as a soil treatment, from where it enters the hibiscus through the roots, and is then circulated within the phloem vessels of the plants. This chemical interferes with the insect’s nervous system by causing a blockage to the stimuli transmission. As a result, aphids die. Before using this chemical, one should study its effects as well, as they are toxic and have the potential for ground and surface water contamination.

Aphids can damage your plant and make your beautiful hibiscus look really sad. So, get rid of them before they travel to other plants in the vicinity.

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How Can I Safely Remove the White Bugs on My Hibiscus?

You’re dealing with the dreaded whitefly. Hibiscus is one of their favorite hosts. Whiteflies suck sap from plant leaves, and unless you’re very astute and observant, you won’t notice the damage they cause to the plant (a few leaves may appear speckled). The only way you know your plants have them is seeing them fly up when the leaves are disturbed. Whiteflies are difficult to get rid of, but it is possible!

One of the best things to do is to place yellow or blue sticky cards in your plants. These cards are coated with glue that’s super sticky — to bugs and people! The color attracts the whiteflies, which fly into the cards and get stuck. You can purchase sticky cards through a well-stocked garden center or by mail. Carefully handle the sticky cards by their edges, and keep them from touching anything. If you get them on your clothing, for example, they’re stuck there for life. Feel free to cut the cards in half if you think one card is too large, but do it carefully. Make one clean cut with very sharp scissors. Change the cards when they’re smothered with goo-trapped bugs.

Another approach is to spray your hibiscus with horticultural oil to reduce the whitefly population. It may be impossible to completely eradicate the whiteflies indoors but, with persistence, you can keep their numbers low enough to tolerate. Consider getting rid of the affected plant or heavily pruning it back before the whiteflies move to your other houseplants.

Bugs Feeding on My Hibiscus

Q: I have an old timey hibiscus that comes back every year and something is eating the leaves. What can I put on it to stop the bugs from eating holes in the leaves? Advertisement

Hardiness Zone: 7b

Faith from Starkville, MS

A: There are numerous insects that feed on hibiscus leaves including mealy bugs, white flies, aphids and spider mites. One of the easiest ways to control any of these insects is to spray your hibiscus (don’t blast them) with the garden hose, or if you are growing them in pots, cover the surface of the pot with foil and stick the plant in the shower for a minute or two. Make sure you get the underside of the leaves, too. Another non-toxic solution is to spray the plant with horticultural oil or an insecticidal soap. Make your own soap with a tbsp of liquid dish soap, two cloves of chopped garlic, a small chopped onion and 2 cups of water. Blend these together and strain out the pulp. Pour into a hand held sprayer and apply to plants every few days after seeing the first signs of damage.


Good Luck!


Earwigs and slugs usually eat the green leaves of plants. I use a diazinon (or generic) or some type of product that kills these bugs and sprinkle that on. It helps to control them, but needs reapplying occasionally. They also love hostas. (06/16/2006)


If the problem is slugs, you can crush egg shells and sprinkle them around the plant. The slugs wont crawl over as the egg shells cut their body. (06/16/2006)

By Aquarius

Hibiscus is a tropical flower that can produce extremely bright and colorful blooms, but recently, the blooms on some of my plants have been budding, but they fall off right before the bloom opens. I have had these plants for years, but I have never had an issue with the blooms until recently. After looking into how to solve the problem, I decided to create this guide to help others keep their hibiscus flowers from falling off of their plants as well.

Why are my hibiscus buds falling off?

Let’s take a look at four reasons why.

1. Improper Watering

This is a plant that likes moist, well-drained soil, which means that even though you will want the soil to feel damp, you do not want it to be excessive. When the roots of the plant are too wet, root rot can occur, which will make the plant sickly and can cause the blooms to fall. This can also occur if the plant has too little water, which will cause the leaves of the plant to wilt and the blooms can fall. If your plant looks healthy, this is most likely not what is causing your plant’s flowers to fall.

2. Weather – It’s Too Hot

You may be thinking: hibiscus is a tropical plant; how can it be too hot for them to grow properly. Well, tropical plants are used to a lot of humidity, but the temperature in these parts of the world is typically less than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity may make it seem much hotter, but the temperature is not so high that is scorches the leaves and damages the flowers that are budding. The hibiscus plant prefers to grow in an area where the temperature is always between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you have been experiencing a heat wave recently with temperatures of 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, this could be the main reason that your plant’s flowers are falling. If this the case, as the temperature begins to ease with the arrival of fall, the flowers will stop falling from the plant.

3. Pests are Damaging Your Hibiscus

While there are a lot of potential pests like aphids, mealy bugs, and spider mites that could cause your hibiscus plant harm, the two main pests that you will need to worry about are thrips and hibiscus midges. Let’s take a look at how to tell if these pests are a problem and some methods that you can use to get rid of them.

  • Thrips– This is a very tiny insect that is often found in gardens. They are known for feeding on the buds of a hibiscus plant, which can cause the plant to do poorly. When the buds are attacked, they flowers can fall off of the plant before the blooms even open.

One way to determine if thrips are causing your issue is to take an unopened bud off of the plant before it falls. It should not be opened, and if you can get one that is turning yellow, it is already being damaged in some way, so it will be the best to inspect. Gently tap the bud on a piece of paper so that you can see if anything comes out of the bud. Thrips look like little black specs, so if you see them on the paper; they will also move when they fall out of the flower.

If you find thrips, controlling the source of the issue is going to be simple. All you need to do is spray liquid insecticide on the blooms. For the best results, you will want the insecticide to contain permethrin or bifenthrin.

  • Hibiscus Midges – Another insect that can be cause for concern is gal midges. These creatures do not eat the plant as adults, but they do tend to lay their eggs in unopened blooms. When the larvae emerge, they feed on the inside of the bud, with is what causes the bud to drop from the plant. This is a very small insect that is nearly impossible to see with the human eye, which makes it very difficult to determine if they are the reason that your flowers are dropping.

Great way to get rid of these pests is to apply a liquid systemic insecticide to the plant so that it can kill the larvae that are embedded in the unopened blooms. You will want to look for a formula that contains acephate, disyston, or imidacloprid.

BioAdvanced Bayer 701287A 3-in-1 Insect Disease

*Bayer Tree and Shrub can be used in the soil to kill the midges.

Bayer Advanced 701615 12 Month Tree and Shrub Protect and Feed

4. Over-Fertilizing Your Plant

The final concern that you will need to consider if your flowers continue to drop is the amount of fertilizer that you are using on the plant. Hibiscus tends to do well with a little fertilizer, but too much can cause the buds to drop. Make sure to choose a fertilizer that is high in potassium. Fertilizers with phosphorus can also damage the plant, so make sure that you find that will help your plant grow and not harm it. Once you are sure that all of these concerns are under control, you should see beautiful hibiscus flowers in no time.


Holes On Hibiscus Leaves – Knowledgebase Question

Tropical Hibiscuses (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)
Posted by plantladylin
There are three species of Hibiscus, but judging from your region, you’re probably growing the Chinese Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis). This is the tropical looking evergreen with large glossy leaves and large red, white or pink flowers. All Hibiscus require full sun, good drainage, regular, deep watering and frequent feeding.
If you prune the plant in early spring, you’ll encourage new flowering stems. If you pinch out the tips of the new growth in the late spring and early summer, flower production will increase. When you water, apply liberally to wet the entire root system. Feed plants every two weeks with a diluted liquid fertilizer (from spring through the end of summer), pinch out the the tips of the new stems and your plant should produce blooms. Yellowing leaves might indicate the growing conditions are not quite right, or your plants could just be shedding some of the older leaves. Holes in leaves can be from environmental problems such as windy conditions that injured the leaves or leaf buds, or there may have been insects snacking on the leaves. I’d prune the plants back to encourage healthy new growth, then feed and water regularly to maintain health.

Growing Perfect Hibiscus

SERIES 22 Episode 14

COLIN CAMPBELL: Hibiscus are big, flamboyant and beautiful and they really love to show off. If you want to give your garden a big, colourful lift, they’re the plants for you.

They’re probably one of the most hybridised plants in the world. There are thousands of different ones, with more being created all the time and they thrive in Brisbane’s warm climate.

Hibiscus come in a dazzling range of colours, sizes and shapes. There are singles, doubles and even miniatures and the leaves can be in different shades of green as well as variegated.

There are few places where you’ll see more of them together than in the Belmont garden of Ida Dagan. She’s passionate about them and she’s got a huge and ever-growing collection.

Ida, you’re a great lover of hibiscus obviously. What made you want to fill the whole garden up with them?

IDA DAGAN: Well the colours. There’s so many different colours and you see different ones and you just want to buy more and more.

COLIN CAMPBELL: This is a lovely hibiscus.

IDA DAGAN: Yes this one Colin is called ‘Bowen Special.’ It’s a beautiful pink, delicate one.

COLIN CAMPBELL: It is. And mind you, the Bowen Special Mango – I love them too.

IDA DAGAN: Yes and they’re really beautiful.

COLIN CAMPBELL: This, I know, is ‘Bonnie.’

IDA DAGAN: Yes, Bonnie. It’s always plenty of buds and beautiful blooms all the year round.

COLIN CAMPBELL: I love the just simple flower on them. Nice and clean.

Over the other side you’ve got some lovely hibiscus.

IDA DAGAN: Yes, well that one over there is called ‘June’s Joy’ and it’s a favourite with everybody.

COLIN CAMPBELL: And what about ‘Tarantella?’

IDA DAGAN: Tarantella – it is a beautiful flower. It can grow as big as a dinner plate and everybody really loves it and it’s a beautiful colour.

COLIN CAMPBELL: Hibiscus like a warm, frost free climate. You can plant them in a bed, they do well in pots and they’re tough enough to survive in a coastal garden and although they’re relatively trouble free, since I’m here with an expert like Ida, I can’t pass up the opportunity to get a few of her sure-fire growing tips.

You’ve got raised beds. Why have you got them?

IDA DAGAN: Because we’ve got clay there and the hibiscus need good soil for drainage. They don’t like wet feet at all.

The pH needs to be kept about 6, 6 and a half. Too high, you put the sulphur on it to bring it down – too low, you put the lime on it to bring it up.

COLIN CAMPBELL: Hibiscus are like me I think – they’re gross feeders. How do you feed yours?

IDA DAGAN: Well I give them plenty of hibiscus fertiliser and sulphate of potash.

COLIN CAMPBELL: How often do you do the hibiscus fertiliser?

IDA DAGAN: Every couple of months.

COLIN CAMPBELL: And what else do you give them then?

IDA DAGAN: I give them fish emulsion and seaweed extract.

COLIN CAMPBELL: But you’ve got another trick that you do as well with that seaweed extract.

IDA DAGAN: I put dishwashing liquid in the mixture so that helps to stick the mixture to the leaves and gives the leaves good shine.

COLIN CAMPBELL: Mulch, of course, is a good idea in any garden, but with hibiscus, it’s good because it keeps their roots cool, but make sure you keep it away from the stems to stop them from getting collar rot.

What’s the main pest problems you have?

IDA DAGAN: The main pest problems is the black hibiscus beetle.

COLIN CAMPBELL: Ah yes. That’s the one that gets into the buds and they fall off. A lot of people spray systemic insecticides I know, for that, but you’ve got other things cause hygiene’s important isn’t it?

IDA DAGAN: Yes. I go round every day and pick up all the dead buds and then take the dead flowers off the trees because they just breed from one flower to the next.

COLIN CAMPBELL: And you’ve got another secret weapon here too. The white margarine container.

IDA DAGAN: Yes. ¾ fill it with water and put a squirt of dishwashing liquid in it because that sticks to the beetle’s wings and they can’t fly out again.

COLIN CAMPBELL: So you put it on the ground, out in the open and they come to that – they’re attracted to the white, and they can’t swim.

IDA DAGAN: That’s right.

COLIN CAMPBELL: Bright, brash and flash, there are few flowers that symbolise the tropics quite like the hibiscus. And although they may look delicate, they’re pretty tough. With warm weather and regular attention, they can brighten up most gardens.

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